Seven-time All-Star third baseman Chipper Jones said he’ll retire at the end of the 2012 Major League Baseball season, ending a career played entirely for the Atlanta Braves that included a Most Valuable Player Award and a record streak of division titles.
Jones, 39, and the Braves have “expressed interest in rejoining the organization in a yet-to-be-determined capacity after 2012,” the team said in news release on its website.
Jones’s 18 years of major-league service with the same club is the most of any active player in baseball, one year more than the New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.
He was selected with the No. 1 pick in the 1990 major league draft, debuting with the Braves in 1993. Having missed the 1994 campaign because of injury, Jones has a .304 career batting average, second all-time among switch-hitters behind Hall of Fame member Frankie Frisch (.316), to go along with 454 home runs and 1,561 runs batted in. He’s the only switch-hitter in major-league history to post a .300 average with more than 300 home runs.
The Braves won their division title a record 14 straight years, omitting the strike-shortened 1994 campaign, from 1991 to 2005. Jones was the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 1995, when Atlanta won the World Series. He was named MVP in 1999 and won an NL batting title in 2008 with a .364 average.